There’s no place like home.
When twins Emma and Frederick were born at only 26 weeks at St. Boniface Hospital, their parents, Janelle and Brant Batters, didn’t know if the micro-preemies would even make it. They weighed about two pounds each.
“Our twins both cried when they were born, which surprised me and my husband,” said Janelle. “They were so tiny, their faint newborn cries sounded like kittens.”
Emma and Frederick spent almost four months in the Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before they went home – thankfully in time for their first Christmas.
Janelle had been at risk of preterm delivery because her cervix, the narrow lower part of the uterus, was thinner than what is normal in pregnancy. The cervix is like a door that is shut, keeping the babies safe inside the womb, but hers was slowly opening.
“Each time I felt them kicking and moving before they were born in July, knowing they might not make it, was torture for me. It felt so unfair,” Janelle said.
Throughout their terrifying journey, the compassionate and high-quality care the babies received 24-7 stood out to Janelle and Brant. They had been told they weren’t going to see them before they were whisked away to the NICU.
“The nurses, doctors and other staff members always let us know exactly what was going to happen with our babies.”
“That mentality of family-integrated care continued throughout our family’s stay. We were always kept informed and prepared for what would come next,” said Janelle.
The Batters family saw first-hand the positive advances their twins made with the support of their skilled caregivers. They learned that patient care and the resources the Hospital can provide are bolstered thanks to the generosity of donors, who are lifelines for NICU families.
“Our twins are now up to six and seven pounds each. They have personalities of their own – Emma is more chill and relaxed, while Frederick is more active and a little feisty at times,” said Janelle.
“Meanwhile, other NICU families like ours desperately need the extra help that you can provide! Sometimes all it takes are more preemie sleepers, knitted hats, and soft blankets that help babies sleep and eat well, growing healthy enough to go home.”